Area fish mongers are bracing for the fallout from the oil spill in the Gulf. “It takes awhile for the supply chain to be affected by this kind of disaster,” said Dave Frank, manager of Fjord Fisheries of Westport. “But it’s only a matter of time.”
The federal government has shut down the waters for all fisheries east of the Mississippi to Pensacola, Florida. Ralph Pagano of Pagano’s Seafood in Norwalk is clearly concerned. “We’re going to see adverse affects on the availability of fin fish, shrimp, and crabs and crabmeat,” he said. “And we’ll see an extreme shortage of red snapper.”
According to Pagano, shrimp will have to start coming from the Carolinas, putting tremendous pressure on the industry there, and local fish markets will have to turn to other species of snapper from the Caribbean, Mexico and South America to satisfy customer demand. This, in turn, will drive up prices nationwide.
While higher prices may pose a challenge here at home, Pagano is quick to point out that it’s the businesses that have been forced to freeze operations that will be hardest hit. “This is really going to be most devastating for the Gulf region’s fishermen and fisheries that make their living off the water.”